I was watching an interview of Nick Cohen by David Rubin regarding the ‘Regressive Left’ (a term I think that was coined by Bill Maher) where you’ll find that those who are on the centre left hold positions that, if viewed in any other light, would be what George Bush (originally coined by Michael Gerson) would refer to as “the soft bigotry of low expectations” rather than actually being the behaviour of someone who was ‘tolerant’ and ‘enlightened’:
One of the biggest problems I have are the likes of George Galloway who play this nonsense of ’the enemy of my enemy is a friend of mine’ which as you can see through numerous photos that he has been quite happy to side himself with tyrannical and despotic regimes as so long as they’re the ‘enemy of the United States’ even though his political stance, based on the ‘Respect Party’ manifesto, he apparently is for full equality of LGBT. Then when you drill down deep into the ‘Respect Party’ in respect to the various members not to mention the major funder of the party, Dr Mohammad Naseem, who is associated with the ‘Islamic Party of Great Britain’ which, to put it bluntly, didn’t exactly see LGBT people as those worthy of equal treatment and respect. The problem is that you had the one lone person the left, Peter Tatchell, actually standing up and pointing out the hypocrisy of that party and its leadership and what did Peter Tatchell receive in return? a torrent of abuse and being labelled as ‘Islamophobic’ because he dared to take the position that criminalising and killing LGBT people in the name of Islam isn’t a good thing to do.
Then there is a sad creature that goes by the name of Julie Bindel ( link ) where, after hearing on an almost constant basis then later in a video with Emma Watson giving a speech to the UN:
She cannot work out why it is associated with ‘man hating’. Well, when you allow the likes of Julie Bindel to join your ranks then you’ll be evaluated based on your fellow travellers. True, you cannot control who joins and leaves your ranks given that there is no single organisation that speaks for all feminists but you can at least call out those within the movement if they head off into the deep end like Julie Bindel (scroll down to the section entitled ‘will heterosexuality survive women’s liberation?’) on the aforementioned article link.
Take Islam for example, there are over one billion people and there are a huge multiplicity of voices – scholars critiquing and arguing with each other over the minute details of Islam law all the way up to whether secularism at the governmental level is compatible with Islam. There are many examples with the most high profile being the Al-Ghazali and the Mutazillites which debates ranged from the Qur’an being eternal vs. created, freewill vs. predestination (keeping in mind that I think it was Ali who raised the middle point which is known today as compatiblism). Then there is the clashes that occurred between the Hanbali and Jariri madhab with the Hanbali being the more conservative literalist where as Jariri being more liberal in its interpretation of Islamic law.
The point being is that even within a large movement such as Islam there are multiple voices – critiques and counter critiques so the question I ask is where are the critiques of Julie Bindel? with over 160 articles to her name it isn’t as though she is some hair brained crackpot with an audience of two but rather someone who has a prominence place on the Guardian so it isn’t as though she’s been hiding under a rock. I’ve looked through, trying to find someone writing a counter critique of what she writes and I can’t find a single thing from a person of equal stature in the media. Sure, I’ve found a random blog by some random blogger who considers Julie Bindel full of shit but that is hardly going to have much of an impact nor will it have any sort of profile equal to that of Julie Bindel to act as a counter balance. So what does one conclude other than fellow travellers believe what Julie Bindel has to write but they’re unwilling to go on the record that they agree with her?
Just a couple of side notes before finishing this off:
1) I believe in total equality between men and women but don’t turn around then demand more but get paid the same – if you want to have maternity leave, if you want to be able to leave work then come back after having kids then guess what – that’ll be counted against you. If a man did the same thing and said, “hey boss, I want to have 9 months off because the local rugby team is heading over to Europe for a tour” do they really think that the boss will say, “sure, no problems, and it won’t get held against you in the future”? I remember when my old man got out of the Army to sell computers for Burroughs, he too realised that when he returned that the decision would be be counted against him when it came to getting promoted. We make choices and part of being equal rights is being given equal responsibility – if you make a choice, be it having kids or going for a rugby tour then it is a choice that you make and if you don’t want to sacrifice future chances of promotion then don’t go ahead.
2) Just reading through one of the many articles that Julie has made on the Guradian, the sort of articles bring out such people as this commenter:
It’s difficult to attack male power and privilege without making it sound as if you are attacking men (which you are not) because lots of men take their power and privilege for granted, see it as their inherent right.
And what ‘privilege’ do I have? again, this is an example of once again a person writes a comment then throws around the term ‘privilege’ and never explains what I, a 35 year old gay white male of low income stature, have in terms of my privilege. Do I just turn up to a potential employer, flash around my patriarchy card and I’m instantly given employment with a great compensation package no questions asked? This is what happens when feminists, like those far right populists, start throwing around terms that take the human element out of the equation and simply refer to a group as ’those’ and ’them’ where their humanity isn’t considered but rather this faceless entity that they cannot associate with an actual person but rather a faceless mass. It is the same sort of games that you hear the far right play when it comes to ‘the gays’ then suddenly when they actually meet a gay person it’s like “oh, I don’t mean people like you, you’re a good gay person, I mean those people over there” the faceless grouping that are easy to demonise because the humanity has been taken out of the equation and are now simply viewed as a faceless mass. When you start hearing people throw around the words like ‘men’ and ‘privilege’ in broad sweeping terms then it should set of alarm bells as being the first steps of dehumanising a mass of people rather than treating each person as an individual who have their own set of issues.